Timothee Chalamet cast as a young Willy Wonka in an ‘origin story’ film: hate it?

"Les Filles Du Docteur March - Little Women" Premiere At Cinema Gaumont Marignan In Paris

Do you ever really stop and think about how weird Roald Dahl’s books were and are? Like, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a seriously weird book! James and the Giant Peach is a strange book too! I remember having that moment as a kid where I was like “wait, what’s happening here??” as I read Dahl’s books. Anyway, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is arguably Dahl’s most beloved kids’ book, and it’s been adapted for the screen twice. The first adaptation had the incomparable Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, and the second version had Johnny Depp as Wonka. I never saw the Depp version, that’s how loyal I still am to the Gene Wilder version.

Well, Hollywood is going to do another Wonka movie. This one won’t be a strict or even loose adaptation of the Dahl book. Meaning, no Charlie. It will be something about Willy Wonka’s origin story. RLY? And it will star Timothee Chalamet as the young Wonka.

Timothée Chalamet is ready to head to a world of pure imagination as the Oscar-nominated actor is set to star as the iconic inventor and chocolate maker in Warner Bros and the Roald Dahl Story Co.’s Wonka. Based on characters created by Roald Dahl, the story will focus on a young Willy Wonka and his adventures prior to opening the world’s most famous chocolate factory. Sources also tell Deadline that Wonka will mark the first time Chalamet gets to show off his singing and dancing skills with several musical numbers set to appear in the film. He’s been the top choice for some time but scheduling was a hurdle that had to be overcome as training for those numbers is included in the prep for this film.

While plot details are unknown, the new pic will be an origin tale of the character and mark the first time Charlie Bucket will not be featured.

[From Deadline]

This makes me sad, uncomfortable and angst-ridden. Why can’t they just do another adaptation? I mean, if they’re hellbent on doing another Wonka story, just adapt the book, for goodness sake. Don’t create some weird, uncomfortable backstory for Wonka. We don’t actually need to know Wonka’s backstory! That’s the same thing I said about Joaquin Phoenix in Joker! Some characters don’t need gritty or tragic backstories. We don’t need to see William Wonka as a young man, plotting to murder children in his sugary house of horrors. Interesting casting though, I guess. Ugh.

Timothee Chalamet poses on the red carpet at the London Film Festival: The King - American Airlines Gala on Thursday 3 October 2019

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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41 Responses to “Timothee Chalamet cast as a young Willy Wonka in an ‘origin story’ film: hate it?”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    The Johnny Depp version was a lot sadder than the original, I didn’t really care for it.

    We’ve been rereading Roald Dahl books here and yeah, they’re weird. The backstory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the oompa-loompas is somewhat disturbing. And James and the Giant Peach is pretty dark. So is Matilda! (although that one is my favorite but its still pretty dark.)

    I’m over origin stories in general. Not every character needs an origin story. Sometimes the original story is enough.

    • SusieQ says:

      And Dahl actually wrote a sequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” called “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.” It was one of my favorite books as a kid. Why couldn’t they update it and put it on film instead of yet another origin story?

      • Mac says:

        Dahl hated Willy Wonka so much he refused to allow Great Glass Elevator to be made into a movie. Perhaps his heirs are refusing as well.

    • AMA1977 says:

      We’re reading Roald Dahl at my house, too! My second-grader and I read a bunch of Beverly Cleary books together and now we’re on James and the Giant Peach. We’d done Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches a couple of year ago. I also got George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and I am looking forward to them!

      They are strange, but in the best possible way. She’s really enjoying them and I love sharing books that I loved as a child with her.

  2. Jillian says:

    This sounds like a mess

  3. Izzy says:

    Another prequel nobody asked for. Yay.

  4. Alissa says:

    I’m not a fan of either Willy Wonka or Timothee chalamet, so I don’t see this working for me. I honestly don’t get the fascination with the Wonka story. also, the Depp version was absolutely psychotic.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Same, though I skipped the Depp version because it looked too unsettling.

    • Thirtynine says:

      Agree to all of this. Glad to see from the comments I am not the only one who thinks TC is wildly over-rated.

  5. LightPurple says:

    Did the Dahl family agree to this?

  6. Eleonor says:

    I am so over this trend.
    I would like to have new stories, not reboot or prequel, or sequel.

    • Ocho says:

      I sometimes wonder how writers feel about all these re-boots. It must be frustrating trying to get your own original content out there. As a viewer, it’s a big nope from me. I love new stories and entering new worlds.

      • Twin falls says:

        Can you imagine pitching your original content to be told “here’s the thing, we’ve got an actor that looks like a mix of two other actors who played the same role so we’re going to need something to cash in on that instead, k?”

    • SusanRagain says:

      Amen. Can we get some new ideas, please?

  7. Maddie says:

    Oscar bait. That’s all this is.

  8. Jane Doe says:

    Roald Dahl was a unique and original children’s writer. You know Hollywood will reduce that to “quirky “. Separately, Dahl wanted Charlie to be Black, but was overruled by his editor or publisher. Lastly, the racism in the Oompah Loompas…yikes, awful, and I don’t think I really “got it” as a child. Wondering if Hollywood can come up with one original idea for entertaining young children, without any oppressive stereotypes. The opportunity awaits.

  9. MellyMel says:

    Sounds like Oscar-bait to me.

  10. tempest prognosticator says:

    Dahl was a racist, an anti-Semite, and an all-around unpleasant man who wrote macabre stories for children.

    • Jane Doe says:

      All the more justification for creating new children’s entertainment!

    • Ann says:

      Yes, he was an anti-Semite, which I only discovered recently. He was my son’s favorite author when he was a kid, and we were both so sad to learn this, especially being Jewish. I mean, Clearly he was racist based on the Oompa Loompa thing but I thought it was more of a run-of-the-mill colonial mindset, typical of a man of his time and place, not OK in any way but not unusual. But some of the things he said about Jewish people, so awful. I really like his work, dark as it is, so it’s just a bummer all around.

  11. AMJ says:

    More prequels, sequels, backstories and remakes, this is exactly what cinema needs. And sorry, but I find TC to be overrated and somehow creepy. The ‘Victorian poet dude dying of consumption’ vibe is a major turn off in every role

  12. Chaine says:

    I don’t get why Chalamet is such a thing. I have no desire to see his supposed musical and dance talent. Is this a sign I’m really old or are there people his age who also find him unimpressive?

  13. Case says:

    Willy Wonka is just not my cup of tea in any iteration. But an origin story seems particularly unnecessary, and I feel like Chalamet is too talented to waste his time on this.

    Hollywood has been making sequels and reboots and such since the beginning of time, so I don’t have a problem with the idea of movies like this. I just don’t think Wonka is a character that needs an origin story. Some things are better left as a mystery.

  14. Marigold says:

    Not really a fan of Roald Dahl but I’m not a fan of macabre.

  15. LeonsMomma says:

    TC seems to be the go-to guy for remakes/reboots (“Little Women,” “Dune,” and now this.) I loved Willie Wonka as a child. Gene Wilder was amazing. Saw the Depp version, among its many issues is that I was over Depp once again hiding behind makeup and a accent (or in this case, a weird, creepy voice.) Dahl books are weird and subversive — really not children’s books if you think about it.

  16. ce says:

    Very hate and very why. I did watch and enjoy the Deep version because it came out during my goth phase and that adaptation hit my angst-feels. Looking back I do know it was inferior

  17. Ann says:

    The Depp version actually did include a back story for Wonka. It didn’t take up the whole movie but it was included, and addressed how he became so obsessed with candy. I wonder if they will go with something completely different.

    I actually liked the Depp version, the kid who played Charlie was way better than the one in the original, to me, and the songs were handled in an interesting way. Depp is a mess but he’s a very good actor.

    That said, I have no desire to see this because I am not a fan of Chalamet. I’ve seen him in a couple of things and he’s just kind of there to me. I don’t get it.

    • Renata says:

      Yeah his father was a dentist and something something trauma. I don’t quite remember but it filled a gap in the story. I like my characters to have back stories, especially when they are out of the norm. Maybe my interest in psychology and I absolutely loved The Joker for that reason.

  18. pottymouth pup says:

    there are so many amazing books & short stories out there to mine for material, especially stories from BIPOC, why can’t Hollywood do that and find the next great things instead of a completely unnecessary backstory?

    • Dierski says:

      Completely agree – Willy Wonka of all characters does not need a backstory! Why can’t they look further than their own noses for modern, diverse, interesting, new content?? Ugh.

  19. Kelly says:

    He’s beautiful, but this needs to stop.

    Here’s a thought, maybe they could write something original. But no.

  20. Sof says:

    I actually had to read several short stories by Roald Dahl while studying English, they were ok the first time but for some reason I got annoyed whenever I had to re read them (The Colonel’s Coat in particular, we studied that one a lot). I then tried to read two of his books (Someone Like You and My Uncle Oswald), didn’t like either of them. I guess he is not an author for me.

    As for all the origin stories we are getting… I don’t know if they are necessary. They did show a bit of Willy Wonka’s origin in Depp’s version, right? His father was a dentist who didn’t let him have sweets?

  21. bettyrose says:

    Origin stories really have the potential to ruin the mystique of the original. But I was a huge Roald Dahl fan as a kid (the weirder and creepier the better). I recently tried to read his 1,000 page biography, but eventually got bored and gave up. Summary: He lived a dull life in a dreary part of Wales . . . made better by writing F’ed up children’s fiction.

  22. Onomo says:

    I haven’t really been impressed with TC’S acting. His turn in Lady Bird and also in Beautiful Boy, I just wanted to fast forward through all the scenes with him. I just don’t see him as someone who could pull off Willy Wonka.

  23. Coco says:

    I don’t see the point of this. Remember when James Franco starred in a movie about the backstory of the Wizard of Oz? Yeah, I barely remember.
    I imagine when the box office reports for this come out, the ghost of Gene Wilder will appear and scream, “You lose! You get nothing!”

  24. Amando says:

    Wilder will always be the only Willy Wonka for me!

  25. Imara219 says:

    I loved the first Wonka movie and yes Gene is the quintessential Wonka. No to Timothee and no to the origin story.

  26. Midge says:

    There is something about his rise to fame that makes me uncomfortable. Like it’s undeserved or there is someone quite powerful behind it and how/why? I can’t put my finger on it but something seems off.

  27. The Recluse says:

    It is so hard to top the charisma and soulfulness of Gene Wilder. He delivered the lines perfectly, obtuse one moment, sarcastic another, and sincerely kind at last. (I actually had a crush on him with his deep soulful eyes and wild hair.)

  28. VIV says:

    Isn’t he dating Lily-Rose Depp? Hope they don’t have him looking like the Depp version of Wonka…